After seeing this in PC World...
...I decided to take some notes when updating the only PC I have running Windows Vista to Service Pack 2 (SP2). Here's what I found.
1. I had 74.4GB free hard disk space before beginning the SP2 update. I had 137GB free after the process and before rebooting the system. So, I recovered 52.6GB of disk space.
2. The SP2 update includes two reboots. The second reboot comes after the second phase of the three phase update process.
3. My screen went text-only during the second phase of the update and 45,005 registry changes were made during this phase based on the messages on the screen. You can see a frame grab above from a video I recorded during this process.
4. There was still 137GB of free space remaining after the second reboot from the third update phase.
This is not news. But, I'm amazed every Patch Tuesday that Windows Update can bring a quad-core PC with 4GB of RAM running Windows Vista to its knees. You can see a typical Windows Task Manager performance chart snapshot above.
I don't burn data files to CDs or DVDs often these days. But, when I do I always want to use the "Mastered" option that closes the disc after burning and is readable on most computers. "Live File System" is the DVD burn default and is near useless since I never want to use a DVD like a floppy, it is not readable on some systems, and it takes perhaps an hour to format the DVD for use. I never ever want to use it. It is especially useless when we can now buy large USB flash drives and external hard drives for very low prices.
The old "Mastered" style on the other hand is useful for burning family photos on a monthly basis for offsite storage. And yes, I can't find any simple way to make it the default burning option. There's probably a registry setting to do that. But, I haven't gone hunting for it yet. So, I have to remember to manually change that option for the one or two DVDs I burn each month. And, oh yes, if I forget to do so, there is no way to stop the process short of bringing up the Task Manager and manually killing the process from there.
I haven't looked at how Windows 7 Beta handles this since I'm running it on a DVD-less netbook. But, I'll attach an external DVD later and report back.
Microsoft Vista's built-in disk defragmentation tool is supposed to run in the background unnoticed. But, I don't like leaving my PC on when not in use (I turn it off overnight and turn off the power strip it is connected to). So, it usually runs when I am using Vista. So, every now and then, I run it manually to defrag the disk. The problem, like much of Vista, is that the disk defragger is user hostile. The screenshot above is the sole interface to the app.
Once started, it tells you: "This may take from a few minutes to a few hours". That's it. No indicator of any kind, graphical or text.
FYI: I've been using the freeware Defraggler app to defrag XP and Vista PCs for a while now. Seems to work well.
I just happened to read this item on ars technica...
I was surprised to see these three failing the VB100 test. I was happy to see Avast on the list since I've been using their freeware Home Edition lately.
I've been running Google Chrome on both XP and Vista PCs since it became available. I discovered an annoying shortcoming about it a few minutes ago. I started downloading the Linpus Linux Lite Live CD ISO using Chrome. Since the estimated download time is around 15 hours, I decided to pause it and exit Chrome. Firefox allows you to resume a download between sessions. Unfortunately, Chrome does not. Fortunately, I tested this before powering down my Vista PC. So, I fired up Firefox 3, started the download, and paused it. I also tested closing the browser, restarting the browser, and resuming the download. This all worked fine.
The lesson learned here is to start any large file download using Firefox. It lets you pause and resume between separate sessions. Google Chrome does NOT.
I've been trying to clean up and organize my home office. In the process I found a bunch of old Iomega 100MB Zip Disks. I also found my old parallel port model Iomega Zip drive. The problem was finding something with a parallel port to plug it in to. It turned out that the PC I had upgraded to Windows Vista has a parallel port. Unfortunately. Iomega does not support Vista and the parallel port drives (not a huge shock). Fortunately, I have an old 2001 era HP notebook running Windows XP Pro with a parallel port that Iomega supports. So, I plugged it in and move all the files off the Zip disks. It turns out I had 45 disks in my collection. That's roughly 4.5GB of total storage or roughly the capacity of the 4GB USB flash drive sitting in front of the disk collection pictured above. About one-fourth of the disks were empty. And, of course, none of the Zip disks were at capacity. It turned out I had 12,061 files taking up 1.03GB on the Zip disks that were used.
I was lucky to have an old PC (notebook in my case) with a Parallel port still running an OS supported by Iomega (Windows XP). I'm already out of luck if I want to deal with 5.25 inch floppy disks. And even the 3.5 inch disks are getting more problematic. It was also fortunate that only 1 of the 45 disks (which are 10+ years old) was unreadable. And, even more fortunate was the fact that it looks like 95+% of the files I found had been migrated to other media over the years. Still, I found a couple of old photos and even two short video clips of my daughter that I don't recall seeing in my collection.
Paper photographs may be difficult to preserve. But, they are accessible by any sighted person without any special tools. What happens to digital family photos decades from now when the person who organized them is gone and the retrieval technology is difficult or impossible to obtain and use?
I rarely use the HP Photosmart C6250 printer/copier/scanner connected to my Vista PC. Moreover, if it is turned on when I boot the PC, Vista locks up. So, the Photosmart is usually turned off and stays that way until I need it. This has worked out ok for the past couple of months.
However, something happened after this week's monthly Microsoft Patch Tuesday. If the printer is off, the HP Digital Imaging Monitor uses nearly all CPU resources if the printer is not turned on. This brings the PC to a near grinding halt. I'm not sure what the specific cause is. But, this definitely started happening only have the Patch Tuesday updates were installed.
Yet another reason I am never buying another HP printer.
PCs running Windows XP or Windows Vista take a long time to boot up. This is especially true if you use a Mac which seems to be responsive soon after its boots. I've used a variety of Windows PCs over the years. And, everything including the Dell Latitude D620 with a Core 2 Duo processor took many minutes from booting to being usable. In fact, the much older and less powerful Dell Dimension 2400 with a Celeron processor booted much faster and was usable much sooner than the Dell notebook. This was because the Dimension ran Windows XP while the D620 ran Windows Vista. And, the Dimension had a faster 7200rpm hard drive while the notebook had, if I recall correctly, a 5400rpm drive.
A third factor that messes up boot times are the various security and call-home-for-update processes that all fire at start-time. If you look at the processes running soon after boot (as soon as Ctrl-Alt-Del can actually work since it is stymied by the slow boot process too), you will see all kinds of junk apps calling home for updates while various security apps perform their tasks too.
This all leads to what for me is up to a 5 minute wait until my various Windows PCs are responsive and ready for actual work.
This Windows Vista driver war with my HP Photosmart C6250 gets nuttier and nuttier all the time. In February, HP's scanning software decided to store scanned images in folders by month. It did not do that for December or January. Over the past few months, Vista seems to lose sight of the HP printer and reinstalls the driver again and again. It just did it again this evening as I was preparing to use the scanner.
Anyone have any comments on the Canon multi-function fax, scanner, copier, printer devices? I'm probably going to be in the market for one by the end of the year.